The award will be announced at an event on 29 March 2012 to mark the launch of the Soil Association’s Sustainable Food Communities project in Northern Ireland.The half-day conference, held at Parliament Buildings, will feature speakers and contributors covering the food chain from production to consumption, exploring the importance of local food provenance, the significance of vibrant food markets and the role of catering accreditation initiatives, amongst other themes.
The achievement of the bronze Food for Life Catering Mark makes the Assembly the first legislative body in these islands to demonstrate the sustainability of the meals it serves to its Members, employees, visitors and the many dignitaries that dine there each year.
William Hay MLA, Speaker of the NI Assembly, who will make the award said:
“Our caterers at the Assembly, Eurest Services, submitted themselves to the rigorous examination of Soil Association inspectors earlier this year and I’m delighted to be able to announce that they have qualified for the bronze Catering Mark. This award makes the Assembly the very first organisation in Ireland, North or South, to achieve this standard. And I hope there will be many others ready to follow our leadership in supporting a thriving local food economy, based on fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce.”
Eurest Services, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, is a leading provider of catering and support services. Fiacra Nagle, Managing Director of Compass Group Ireland said, “Eurest Services is delighted to have achieved this award which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to sustainable sourcing. I am extremely proud of the great service we provide at the Northern Ireland Assembly, delivered by a great team of people. This team has worked hard to achieve this bronze Catering Mark and I want to congratulate them all on this success.”
Jim Kitchen, the Soil Association’s NI Project Manager said: “This commitment to serve food that’s good for people as well as being good for the planet is a real step forward. The Assembly is demonstrating its leadership in providing sustainable food; let’s see if some other public sector organisations can follow suit.”